Persuasion is the last novel fully completed by Jane Austen. It was published at the end of 1817, six months after her death.The story concerns Anne Elliot, a young Englishwoman of 27 years, whose family is moving to lower their expenses and get out of debt, at the same time as the wars come to an end, putting sailors on shore.
They rent their home to an Admiral and his wife. The wife’s brother, Navy Captain Frederick Wentworth, had been engaged to Anne in 1806, and now they meet again, both single and unattached, after no contact in more than seven years. This sets the scene for many humorous encounters as well as a second, well-considered chance at love and marriage for Anne Elliot in her second “bloom”.
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Book review by Vanya_Jelezarova
Love cannot be persuaded to end, it endures past every obstacle imposed in its way…
Obviously Jane Austin is a genius. I love English literature, but honestly, some writing styles are very hard to follow. Elizabeth Gaskell being one of them. This book, fortunately has a nice flow to it and a very clean chain of thought.
Brief Synopsis: Anne Elliot is the only humble, good-hearted member of her very vain and rich family. If you’ve even seen the Kardashians and their wealthy people “problems” like only having two house-keepers instead of three, that’s the Elliot clan. Anne has two sisters and a father whose main concern in life is being introduced to the right people, being conceived as wealthy, and being the center of attention wherever they go. Anne is very mild in nature, very quiet, and loves to be of service. She is often overlooked and rarely consulted on any family matter. Her interests and happiness are of no concern to any of her family. The Elliots also have a family friend, Mrs. Russell, who all in all is a good person, but also considers herself at the top of society and sees as her primary job to make sure the girls remain there with her. She however, loves Anne and cares about her. She proves this by persuading Anne to break her engagement, when Anne is 19, from Captain Wentworth, who clearly is unworthy of marrying an Elliot. Even though Anne and Frederick love each other, Anne is persuaded to end it. Frederick soon after goes off to sea to war, where he becomes very wealthy.
When he returns Anne is 27 and not yet married, but his heart is still broken so he persuades himself that he must do everything in his power to ignore her and proceed in finding himself a wife. He does this by attaching himself to two 20 year old cousins of Anne, who Anne is staying with at the time, and thus spends a lot of time in her company. Though he is committed to only saying hello to her and other small talk as not to seem rude.
Anne’s heart goes a flutter when she hears that her ex is back in town. Like him, she tries to tell herself that it was a long time ago and neither he nor she have any feelings left for each other, be it contempt or love. She is wrong, at least in herself. She is very aware of every little move Captain
Wentworth makes and jumps at the sound of his name being said out loud. So cute.
Many months pass by and some other things happen to both their lives, but they continue to run into each other. Anne gets a proposal from another man, who she wishes to have nothing to do with. However, rumors spread quickly that she is to be engaged soon and Captain Wentworth is about to leave her alone, but not before seeing her one last time. Mind you, that in all of this they must have said only a handful of sentences to each other. All their feelings and thoughts are conveyed only through looks and manners towards each other.
Finally he writes her a very romantic letter, professing his love for her throughout the years and not being able to stop dreaming of her, even after she rejected him all that time ago. That if she still feels like she did when they were engaged she only need to look at him and he will know her answer.
Now I should say that old-English literature is very anti-climatic at the ends. In my mind I always see the two lovers running towards each other, embracing with passion and love and sharing at least a little kiss. Most of old-English books lack this, but that is to no fault of their own. Things like that were just simply not written about. Affection was only shown at home, not even hand holding was frowned upon outdoors. So after I close each book I re-write the ending in my head to include the run and kiss so to speak.
I love this story because Anne is not a strong character like other Jane Austen heroines. She is very invisible to everyone else, except Frederick Wentworth. As much as he tried not to see her, she occupied his every thought and dream. And that’s why I love her. She is pure and uncorrupted and does so much for everyone else and no body cares for her. She is not a main character, yet she is the main character in her life and she doesn’t need for people to see her or know her, she just needs the love of one man. Maybe it reminds me a little bit of myself and my husband, I don’t know, but this is my favorite story.
[Coralie Bickford-Smith’s] recent work for Penguin Classics is…nothing short of glorious –Anna Cole
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About the Author
One of England s most beloved authors, Jane Austen wrote such classic novels as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Northanger Abbey. Published anonymously during her life, Austen s work was renowned for its realism, humour, and commentary on English social rites and society at the time.
Austen s writing was supported by her family, particularly by her brother, Henry, and sister, Cassandra, who is believed to have destroyed, at Austen s request, her personal correspondence after Austen s death in 1817. Austen s authorship was revealed by her nephew in A Memoir of Jane Austen, published in 1869, and the literary value of her work has since been recognized by scholars around the world.